Head Protection

Headwear: Protection from Multiple Hazards

Safety headwear is designed to protect the head from impact from falling objects, bumps, splashes from chemicals or harmful substances, and contact with energized objects and equipment.

In construction, the recommended type of protective headwear is the Class B hard hat which has the required "dielectric strength." There are many designs but they all must meet the CSA requirements for Class B Industrial head protection.

Most head protection is made up of two parts

  1. The shell (light and rigid to deflect blows)
  2. The suspension (to absorb and distribute the energy of the blow)

Both parts of the headwear must be compatible and maintained according to manufacturer's instructions. If attachments are used with headwear, they must be designed specifically for use with the specific headwear used. Bump caps are not considered a helmet. In Alberta they can only be used when the only hazard is where a worker might strike his/her head against a stationary object.

Inspection and Maintenance

Proper care is required for headgear to perform efficiently. The service life is affected by many factors including temperature, chemicals, sunlight and ultraviolet radiation (welding). The usual maintenance for head gear is simply washing with a mild detergent and rinsing thoroughly.

Head Protection: Best Practices
Do Don't
  • Replace headgear that is pitted, holed, cracked or brittle
  • Replace headgear that has been subjected to a blow even though damage cannot be seen
  • Remove from service any headgear if its serviceability is in doubt
  • Replace headgear and components according to manufacturer's instructions
  • Consult OH&S or your supplier for information on headgear
  • Drill, remove peaks, alter the shell or suspension in any way
  • Use solvents or paints on the shells (makes shells "break down")
  • Put chin straps over the brims of Class B headgear
  • Use any liner that contains metal or conductive material
  • Carry anything in the hard hat while wearing the hard hat